tv The Situation Room CNN October 4, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
a quote unquote relatively small u.s. military team escorted fbi investigators to the site. the pentagon says both teams left benghazi a short time ago. the fbi team had been stalled for three weeks because of security concerns there at the particular site in benghazi. thank you so much for being with me today. i'm brooke baldwin. let's send you to washington. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer begins now. brooke, thanks very much. happening now, president obama back on the campaign trail after a lackluster debate performance. he's about to speak in madison, wisconsin. we're going to hear from him live this hour as he tries to recover. also, we'll hear live from mitt romney. he's now campaigning with new energy and momentum after his showing in the debate last night. plus, big bird thrust into campaign politics and on the defensive. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
only 33 days to election and an entirely new dynamic in the battle between president obama and mitt romney. the republican nominee is widely seen as the winner of last night's debate while even the president's strongest supporters now concede he was not at the top of his game. and now the president is back out there on the campaign trail. he's getting ready to speak at a rally over at the university of wisconsin in madison. we're going to be hearing from him live this hour. but first, listen to what he said about mitt romney at a rally earlier today before he left denver. >> when i got on to the stage, i met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney. [ laughter ] but it couldn't have been mitt
romney because the real mitt romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. the fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that. the real mitt romney said we don't need anymore teachers in our classrooms. don't boo, vote. [ cheers and applause ] but the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers. can't get enough of them. the mitt romney we all know invested in companies that were called pioneers of outsourcing jobs to other countries. but the guy on stage last night, he said that he doesn't even know that there's such laws that
encourage outsourcing. never heard of them. never heard of them. never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. he said that if it's true, he must need a new accountant. now, we know for sure it was not the real mitt romney because he seems to be doing just fine with his current account. so you see, the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real mitt romney's decisions and what he's been saying for the last year. and that's because he knows full well that we don't want what he's been selling for the last year. >> president obama at that rally in denver earlier today. very, very different from what we saw in the debate last night. watch this. >> the last point i'd make
before -- >> two minutes is up, sir. >> i think i had five seconds before you interrupted me was -- the irony is that we've seen this model work really well in massachusetts. >> all right. moments like that may have contributed to what so many people out there see as the president's debate loss. our cnn/orc poll of viewers, people who actually watched the debate, finds that 67% think mitt romney was the clear winner while only 25% think president obama won. let's get some more now from our chief political analyst gloria borger. gloria, how damaging was this debate to president obama last night? >> i think we have to let the polls come in. and we'll let the voters decide. but i think you saw from the way the president was behaving on the stump this morning that even he knows that this was a pretty damaging debate for him. look, mitt romney showed up as somebody who was reasonable, as somebody who criticized the president while being respectful
of the president. and as somebody those independent voters, those undecided voters, those persuadable voters could take a look at and say, you know, i could see him as a plausible president. just by being there mitt romney was elevated to the level of the president. and he effectively i would have to say took charge of the debate. and the president just sort of did not really push him or force him or challenge him the way we just saw on the stump right now. >> i was pretty surprised by that myself. >> yeah. >> so what's the major lessons the president should be learning from his performance last night? >> well, i think the lesson is that you've got to pay attention to what your opponent is saying there. and then you've got to prod. and you've got to challenge. and you've got to take advantage of every opportunity. i would argue, wolf, that mitt romney gave him the opportunity to hit some things out of the park and he didn't do it. take a listen to this. >> you said you get a deduction
for taking a plant overseas? look, i've been in business for 25 years. i have no idea what you're talking about. i maybe need to get a new accountant, but the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case. >> so today on the campaign trail the president said he's got a good accountant obviously. only pays a 14% tax rate. well, why didn't he take advantage of that opportunity last night? i mean, wolf, there was no mention of the 47% number. that's something that the obama campaign has spent over $3 million advertising about over the last two weeks. no mention of that. no mention of bain capital. no mention of the tax returns. no mention of outsourcing. and so it seems to me that the president is going to have to look for opportunities, which by the way i think mitt romney handed him last night, but he just didn't seem to hear them. >> he wasn't either prepared or didn't want to get into that kind of debate. >> right. >> so what did romney do last
night that we probably haven't seen before? >> well, i think he managed to do a couple of things really well. and i want to play this one bite for you then we can talk about it. >> i just don't know how the president could have come into office facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the kitchen table and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for obama care instead of fighting for jobs for the american people. it has killed jobs. >> the big thing he did is that he seemed to be able to relate almost every answer to job creation. and that has been his mantra, which he's kind of gotten off of a little bit. so every answer last night whether it was about obama care or taxes for small business seemed to relate back to jobs. he also managed -- and this is something new for mitt romney, to be the kind of anecdote guy who took stories from the campaign trail and related them
to the american people. that is something we have not seen him do very well in previous debates. but he managed to do that very well last night. it was clear that he was very trained. and he also, one other thing that came in handy was mr. powerpoint. he gave the powerpoint presentations while i think he still needs to put some more meat on the bones, he at least gave the american public the view that he had detailed plans on everything that the president will now challenge him on in the next debate. >> yeah. he was impressive, you've got to admit. >> yeah. >> what he did last night to the president of the united states is similar in my opinion to what he did to newt gingrich, to rick santorum, to rick perry, during some of those republican presidential debates earlier. he was on the offensive and he kept the opposition on the defensive. >> and those debates, it's very clear they were different because he had multiple challengers, but those debates clearly prepared him. >> yes, they did. >> and you can see that president obama was rusty.
>> he wasn't ready for that. but we'll see how he does in the next one. two more to come. >> there's more. >> thanks, gloria. a romney campaign is certainly re-energized. we're taking a closer look at how he's capitalizing today on a strong debate showing last night. and we're also standing by to hear from president obama. he's over at a campaign rally in madison, wisconsin. you'll see it. you'll hear it. that's live coming up right here in "the situation room." i am probably going to the gas station about once a month. last time i was at a gas station was about...i would say... two months ago. i very rarely put gas in my chevy volt. i go to the gas station such a small amount that i forget how to put gas in my car. [ male announcer ] and it's not just these owners giving the volt high praise. volt received the j.d. power and associates appeal award two years in a row. ♪ and the family car to do an experiment. we put a week of her family's smelly stuff all in at once to prove that febreze car vent clips could eliminate the odor. then we brought her family to our test facility
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the romney campaign is flying high literally and figuratively after a strong showing in last night's presidential debate. cnn national political correspondent jim acosta has the latest. jim. >> reporter: wolf, flying to virginia mitt romney will spend much of the day after the first presidential debate up in the air. but for the first time in weeks the state of his campaign is not. mitt romney took his victory lap after the first presidential debate receiving a sustained
standing ovation during a surprise visit to a conference of conservatives in denver. >> i saw the president's vision as trickled down government. and i don't think that's what america believes in. i see instead a prosperity that comes through freedom. >> reporter: it didn't take long after the debate was finished for the romney campaign to turn the spin room into the win room. are you declaring victory, jim, if this was a boxing match, the referee would have called it. after taking some knocks from some in the gop after spending too much time in debate prep and not enough in rally in swing states, the romney campaign felt vindicated. although eric fehrnstrom pushed back on the notion that the republican contender was more ready than the president. >> well, look, you know, i think at the end of the day both the president and governor romney probably put in an equal amount of time preparing for this debate. >> reporter: just two days after the president joked his own advisors were pushing him to do more debate prep. >> they're making me do my homework. >> reporter: obama campaign manager said romney had an advantage going into the debate.
>> governor romney's prepared more for this debate than any president in modern american history. when you're president, you can't take out an entire week. >> we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. >> reporter: the rnc released a new web video called the smirk seizing on the president's sometimes uncomfortable body language. romney can only look to the obama campaign's own web video to see the president's next line of attack. >> with the language mitt romney uses, the verdict is false. >> reporter: democrats are already labeling some of romney's statements like this one on health care outright lies. >> pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. >> well, actually, governor, that isn't what your plan does. >> reporter: look to romney to return fire at the next debate with a few new zingers like the one he launched at the president. >> mr. president, you're entitled as president to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts. >> reporter: portman told cnn with two debates to go, his work
is not finished yet. wolf. >> jim acosta reporting for us. thank you. we're standing by to hear from the president of the united states. he's in madison, wisconsin, over at the university there right now getting ready to speak. this is video from him earlier in the day. that's live pictures from madison, wisconsin. you see the stage. he should be arriving there momentarily. we're going to hear what he has to say. he's coming out swinging today, something he clearly avoided doing last night for some inexplicable reason. we'll try to find out more on this. stand by, much more coming up. the president getting ready to speak. when you take a closer look... ...at the best schools in the world... ...you see they all have something very interesting in common.
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it's taken nearly a month but fbi agents finally made it to the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. what's the latest? >> hi, wolf. the agents arrived late wednesday, worked today at the site of the september 11th attack and left a short time ago. u.s. security forces accompanied the fbi team. last month's attack killed four americans including u.s. ambassador to libya. but security concerns stalled the fbi visit until today. and there is yet another new low for mortgage rates. the national average is 3.36% for a 30-year fixed rate and 2.69% for a 15-year mortgage. the latest drop is due to the federal reserve's new stimulus program of buying up mortgage
backed securities. and on the high side of new records, facebook ceo mark zuckerberg announced today that more than 1 billion people now are actively using his social network every month. facebook stock jumped 2% after the announcement but gave up most of that gain by the end of the day. a billion people on facebook. i don't think that's too terribly surprising. >> one billion people? >> one billion people. >> thanks very much. see how that stock does in the coming weeks. >> we'll see. we're awaiting the start of the president's campaign rally in madison, wisconsin. you're looking at live pictures coming in from madison right now. this is the second campaign stop of the day. earlier the president, he was aggressively going after mitt romney, something he avoided doing last night. we'll see how tough he is in madison, wisconsin. wisconsin latest polls there before the debate last night showing the president doing well. we'll see if that changes as a result of romney's much stronger
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trade commission-free for 60 days, and we'll throw in up to $600 when you open an account. no matder where you tune in today, people are asking different versions of the same question. here's a quick snapshot. >> can barack obama get back into a winning mode? the polls were looking good going into this, right? >> the obama campaign going after the inconsistencies, specificity that romney now put on the table that's open to attack. >> he did give a strong performance. but that's what it was. a performance. >> the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real mitt romney's decisions and what he's been saying for the last year. >> all right. let's go straight to our cnn contributor, sirius xm radio host pete dominick with a good panel of unsolicited advice.
>> thanks, wolf blitzer. we'll talk a little about last night. but moving forward can the president recover? i want to just ask everybody here if we all agree that president obama pretty much got shi lacked. can we spin it? if so, i thought, i don't know who that guy was last night and i'm talking about the moderator, jim lehrer. no, i'm talking about the president. really, was he there? how many boxing metaphors can we make, governor? >> look, i think you've forgotten barack obama who actually debated hillary and biden back in the day. it's no drama obama. that's what you've got. he's a great speaker. great orator but there's no passion when he's debating. he gives you the numbers. tells you what he thinks. if we're going to decide the next president on debating skills and style, then we're all in a lot of trouble. >> i'm going do disagree with you, shockingly. >> shocking. >> i'm just going to laugh.
>> ross just laughs. we have seen president obama on the campaign trail when he was campaigning against hillary really litigate his point, really make it strongly drive it home. you saw none of that last night. you saw him sort of going along with mitt romney's numbers and realizing he wasn't prepared enough. so i think you're going to have to see a real shift in how he approaches the next debate and that's why he's on the trail today. he's mad. it's like he's got his game face on. >> you have a president who sort of stood there debating a guy who has not been on the campaign trail for the last six months. that mitt romney and those positions were brand new. made up out of thin air. >> etch-a-sketch. >> i think the president was kind of shocked about it. all of a sudden he was saying things that he's never said. he went back on things that he'd said. this wasn't just like etch-a-sketch, this was a complete clean slate that mitt romney went for. and i think the president was trying to let it speak for itself and kind of make the point. >> he did. >> this can't possibly -- people can't possibly be buying this.
>> he did let it speak for itself. but i think for allowing for some differences of opinion, basically you were right. this is the general election pivot by mitt romney. and i think to use a boxing metaphor, it made it feel like the last six months have been kind of rope-a-dope. he lulled him into not making a general election pivot and he pivoted. and the president didn't know what to say. >> but when you pivot that strong -- >> this was the genius of romney's vagueness. he didn't actually -- i'm sure we disagree about this, he didn't have to pivot strongly -- >> let's go easy on the word genius here. a lot of campaign ads are going to come out from last night. but listen, you got to -- you have to be listening to who you're talking to. and last night the president, a trained actor, ech though they know the lines that are coming listens and can react. hilary's right. he was shocked at all this new romney stuff. he still could have listened.
he still could have reacted to some of what mitt romney said. >> he said something about needs to get a better accountant. >> he absolutely said your math doesn't add up. you're going to cut taxes by 20%. he said, no, i'm not going to cut any taxes but i'm going to cut taxes for the people who pay them by 20% and then i'm going to find them money through these loopholes. which loopholes? there's a thousand tax credits and loopholes. he didn't name one. not one. >> no, but one thing we know is -- >> what he proposed was a general cap on the number of loopholes you can claim, which is actually a totally reasonable way to do tax reform. it gets you out of the problem of sort of litigating each and every loop. >> arguing about substance. why? >> here is something that the president clearly did which was he said, all right, mitt romney's going to go out and do this. in many ways mitt romney just made the next three weeks for himself miserable. >> oh, sure. totally. he's going to be sitting at home crying over the polls showing him pulling ahead. >> i totally agree he energized his base.
but what he did was he set himself up for a three weeks of fact checking and, you know, change of positions. even his spokesperson, margaret, came out into the spin room and said remember when he said he was going to cover pre-existing conditions, that's wrong. he's not really going to do that. they were already backtracking on the substance. so this is going to have to -- >> so let's be clear. so the democratic line for the next few weeks is going to be mitt romney used to say he was going to cut taxes for the rich. but now he says he isn't going to cut taxes for the rich and that's bad? >> no. i think the democratic line right now is you have a president of the united states who has brought 30 straight months of job growth and is producing for the american people. >> that doesn't matter because it didn't happen last night. and we're arguing substance and we should be talking about policy, they should be talking about policy. but those debates last night can be watched with the sound off and president obama looked weak. he was shy. he was meek. he was on his heels.
he got punched time after time and never swung back. and that matters in a debate. >> it may matter in a debate, but independent voters afterwards in dial groups said it really didn't change their view. >> probably true. >> of mitt romney or president obama. the substance is going to be what matters. there's one other point which is mitt romney was smart to get back to only focusing on the economy. i think there was a mistake made in this debate by not focusing on women's issues, by not focusing on any social issues. >> president obama could have brought it there. >> he could have. >> independent voters support president obama on those issues by a much wider margin. >> that's a good way to look out of touch. if romney's talking about jobs and the economy and romney's pivoting to planned parenthood, who looks out of touch with the issues the people care about the most in this election? not mitt romney. >> it's not what people care about the most, it's whether it matters to people. >> i think -- >> looking ahead -- >> independent voters have consistently said they care about where women stand.
>> looking ahead at the next two debates, what can happen. mitt romney never had caffeine looked like he had a ton of it and president obama looked like he needed a nap. >> i think president obama is going to have to get aggressive. >> he just said he can't get aggressive. no drama obama. >> i think he's a very competitive guy and he's like a fourth quarter guy, fourth inning -- ninth inning, fourth quarter -- >> he might be a fourth inning guy. >> he's not going to be the barracuda. he's not going to attack. he's not going to poke. he will respond by explaining these are the facts, actually. sorry, you're mistaken again. he's not going to be that guy that raises his voice. >> is he going to be able to find out how to make a point that he needs to make in five seconds in under a minute? i don't know if you can read debating for dummies, he's got to be able to -- he was boring me last night. >> he had five more minutes of time than mitt romney. but mitt romney i saw this morning spoke like 500 more words. >> that's right. this is awesome. we have to continue in a moment
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all right. we're back here in "the situation room." now it's time to give our unsolicited advice to our unsuspecting targets. let's start can governor bryan schweitzer. governor. >> my advice is for corporate america. last night there was somebody, a kitchen aide in the middle of the debate had a tweet something about obama's grandmother. it was really outrageous. then we went through chick-fil-a. i'm not going to buy a polaris snow mobile because they've
entered the political arena. 50% of america's going to vote one way and 50% the other way, but you need all of the customers. don't wade in here as a corporation into politics. you need everybody as a customer. don't chase us away. >> what about small business? >> same thing. i'm surprised when people put my campaign sign in front of their small business. i'm thinking, oh, they're going to lose. >> you're a popular guy, doesn't that get them sales? >> there's 22% that vote against me. >> you're not taking that sign down. this is actually wlie the citizens united decision hasn't led to nearly as much corporate cash going into politics as people expected because corporations have basically taken your advice in general except for the rare kitchen aid -- >> they're still luring through the chamber of commerce. >> you saying shouldn't give to the chamber of commerce? >> they're laundering it. keep it secret. >> all right. well, my piece of unsolicited advice though i never thought i'd have a chance to say
anything to mark zuckerberg directly, he has of course the news today a billion subscribers on facebook. that's a seventh of the world's population. but the guy has one color of t-shirt. he has 12 t-shirts all the same color in one drawer in his house. he's a centi millionaire and he has all the same color t-shirt. i'm not going to say spruce it up, get an oxford shirt, but you could add a little color. >> you're giving mark zuckerberg some fashion advice. >> because you've got to grow up. >> by the way, my friend, steve jobs, did the same thing, only wore a turtle neck. >> mark zuckerberg is not steve jobs. >> i knew steve jobs and mark zuckerberg is no steve jobs. >> what would make a difference if he changed his wardrobe? you would be happy? >> it might be like sampson cutting his hair in the bible. he changes his t-shirt and suddenly he loses all of his internet powers. >> i don't know if you knew him when you were at your alma mater
but i feel like there's something about growing out of college. >> i deny anything i did at my alma mater on a regular basis. >> my own unsolicited advice is equally large reach, which is to oprah. >> oh. >> oprah, who is still a goddess to me and virtually every woman i know, has a very big voice. and oprah's endorsement of what was at stake in 2008 in that election was very powerful. and oprah speaking out, other women speaking out, we have a candidate on the republican side who wants to relitigate -- talk about litigating, wants to relitigate fights women have had and we thought we won for the last 50 years. mitt romney wants to take us back, the republican-dominated congress and senate would take us back to those fights all over again. oprah, we need you. we need other women like oprah to get out there and say we cannot go backwards. we have to go forwards. >> you mean he's going to take
us all the way back to the policy that we had on religious institutions in health care like a year ago? like all the way back to the dark ages of 2011? the horrible year of 2010? >> wail, the policy is women's health care should not be discriminated against. men's health care is not, so, ross, nothing you say here is going to actually make women support mitt romney. >> i'm not trying to get women to support mitt romney. i'm just trying to tell the truth about the policy change. in any case, so my unsolicited advice, we'll pivot away from a dispute we probably won't resolve here, is for pundants and journalists after this debate, it might be time to wrap up on the elections of 2000, 1872 and 188 where the three elections where the winner of the popular vote did not win the electoral college. i think what you're going to see in a few days is polling showing mitt romney and barack obama pulling really close together in the national vote while with obama still up five or six points in some polls in ohio. so even if it doesn't happen,
we're at least going to have to talk about the scenario on shows like this and elsewhere for a while. so remember the samuel tildon ruter b. hayes election, it's time to talk about that again. >> democrats have historically hated the electoral college because we always were assuming we were winning the popular vote. this might be the first election where democrats actually like the electoral college. >> we're loving it now. >> it's incredibly possible that we might need it to, you know -- >> always love when it's on the side that -- all right. here's my unsolicited advice. my unsolicited advice is to democrats and new york jets fans and frankly anybody else who feels like a loser right now. it's this. the sun will come out tomorrow. i mean, the idea -- i can't sing. but the idea today that so many people, democrats, liberals, however whatever that word was pronounced. >> you were watching msnbc last night? >> on twitter, my wife, my mom,
people are going crazy. it's over. president obama is mostly likely still going to win this election. the jets probably won't win anymore games, but it's not about that. your happiness can't come from an election or a sporting event. think about your family, think about what's going on right in your life. and don't let a day be ruined over it. don't let a week be ruined over it. stay positive. stay upbeat. do what you can. none of us watching it wanted obama to win last night. could have helped him, we were yelling at the screen, but you can't do anything. and you know what, mark sanchez can't throw the football very well either. don't try to control the things you can't. >> he has eva longoria. >> he does. actually, she picked him. >> i don't think we should get so wrapped up with this and let it affect us with our families and our lives. >> can we do it with sports but not politics? >> the baseball playoffs are -- >> it's even worse with sports. they really don't affect your life. >> really? you're changing the whole way i
interact with my television here. >> i think you're making a really good point but for a different reason. because i actually think that when push comes to shove, voters are going to look at where these candidates stand and what they're going to do for them and the thee yat ricks of a debate like a sporting event are not going to be the thing that makes them decide. >> if we have another minute though, i wanted to just talk about this vice presidential debate coming up, which is between biden and of course ryan. and what are we thinking here? is this going to be -- is everybody watching it? is it as exciting? is biden going to hold his own with paul ryan? >> it's high drama. you tune in because first of all everybody anticipates the possible gaffe that could come from joe biden. although in these circumstances he tends not to slip up. >> we got to go? >> they raised the bar for paul ryan. >> we'll see you next week in kentucky. throw it back to wolf right now.
back to wolf blitzer. pete, thanks very much for some unsolicited advicadvice. right now we're waiting on the president in madison, wisconsin. a huge crowd is there. will the president be on fire? will he be cool? will he be hot? standby. we're going to hear he's getting ready to start speaking there. we'll take him live when we come back. but things are starting to turn around because of business people like you. and regions is here to help. with the experience and service to keep things rolling. from business loans to cash management, we want to be your partner moving forward. so switch to regions. and let's get going. together.
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the president speaking at the university of wisconsin in madison. he's ridiculing mitt romney right now. let's listen in. >> don't want what he's been selling over the last year. governor romney may dance around his positions. he may do a tap dance and a two-step, but if you want to be president, then you owe the
american people the truth. so here's the truth. governor romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class. we can't afford to go down that road again. we can't afford another round of budget busting tax cuts for the wealthy. we can't afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research or technology. we can't afford to roll back regulations on wall street banks or oil companies or insurance companies. we can't afford to double down on the same topdown economic policies that got us into this mess. that is not a jobs plan. it's not a plan for our economy. it's not a plan to strengthened middle class. it is not change. it is a relapse. and we're not going to do it.
we have been there. we have tried that. we are not going back. we're moving forward. because i've got a different view. we have a different view about how to create jobs and prosperity. this country doesn't succeed when only the rich get richer. we succeed when everybody has a shot, when the middle class is getting bigger, when there are ladders of opportunity into the middle class. our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle out. that's how it grows. we don't believe that anybody's entitled to success in this country. but we do believe in opportunity. we do believe in a country where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, where everybody's getting a fair shot and everybody's doing their fair share. and everybody's playing by the same rules. that's the country we believe in.
that's what i've been fighting for for the last four years. that's why i'm running for a second term as president of the united states. [ cheers and applause ] madison, what we are rallying around is a new economic patriotism that is rooted in the core belief that built this country. the belief that the economy grows when we have a strong and thriving middle class and everybody who works hard has a shot. and there are specific ways that we can do that. i want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs. my opponent said we should let detroit go bankrupt. we came together -- don't boo.
vote. we came together to reinvent a dying auto industry that's now back on top of the world. we've created half a million new manufacturing jobs. and so we can keep giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companys that are opening new plants and training new workers right here in the state of wisconsin right here in the united states of america. that's what we need to do. i want to help big factories and small businesses double their exports. create a million new manufacturing jobs. you can make that happen. but you're going to have to vote. i want to control more of our own energy. and after 30 years of doing nothing we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. that's good for your pocketbook. that's good for our economy.
and it's also good for our environment. we've doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar. thousands of americans have jobs today building wind turbines, long lasting batteries. today the united states of america is less dependent on oil than at any time in nearly two decades. so now you've got a choice between a plan that reverses this progress as you heard last night. or one that builds on it. the guy who was playing mitt romney said he refuses to close a loophole that gives big oil companies $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies every single year. does anybody think that oil companies need a tax subsidy? so we've got a better plan. we're going to keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal and farmers and scientists can
harness biofuels to power our cars and our trucks and make our buildings and schools more energy efficient and develop our natural gas that's right beneath our feet and if we do all those things, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020. we can support hundreds of thousands of jobs all across the country. but you're going to have to vote to make it happen. i want to make sure that every young person in america has the chance to get the skills and the knowledge they need to compete in this 21st century economy. you know, education's the only reason i'm standing on this stage. it's the only reason michelle was able to do what she did. and so we haven't forgotten that we needed some student loans to get through school. that's why over the last four years we've helped millions of students pay less for college
because we finally took on a system that was wasting billions of dollars on banks and lenders. we said let's cut out the middleman. let's give the money directly to students. now, the guy playing mitt romney last night says he loves education, but the budget that his running mate, congressman ryan, put forward -- don't boo, vote -- would gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy. that's one path. it's the wrong path. we need to decide that in the united states of america no child should have a dream deferred because of an overcrowded classroom, because of outdated textbooks. no family should have to set aside an acceptance let tore go to the university of wisconsin because they don't have the money.
no company should have to look for workers in china because they couldn't find any with the right skills here in the united states. so i need you to help me recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, improve early childhood education, give two million workers the chance to learn skills the community college that will lead directly to a job. help us work with colleges and universities like this one to cut the growth of tuition costs so that you guys aren't overburdened with debt when you graduate. that's a goal we can meet. we can choose that future for america. we're going to have to do something about the deficit. but we've got to do it in a smart way. i said i'd cut the deficit by $4 trillion through a mix of spending cuts and higher taxes on the wealthiest of americans. i've already worked with republicans to cut a trillion dollars in spending. i'm willing to do more. i want to reform the tax code so
it's simple and fair. but i'm also going to ask the wealthiest among us to pay a higher tax on incomes over $250,000. the same rate we had when bill clinton was president created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus. and look, the whole economy does well when taxes are, you know, kept low for middle class families and working families because when you guys have a little extra money in your pocket, you spend it. you have to on basic necessities. and that means business has more customers. and they make more profits they then hire more workers. and the economy as a whole begins to grow. but to do that and reduce the deficit at the same time, we've got to ask folks who can afford it to do a little bit more. now, last night this may have actually been the real mitt romney because he ruled out raising a dime on taxes on
anyone ever no matter how much money they make ruled out closing those loopholes that are giving $4 billion of corporate welfare to the oil companies, refused to even acknowledge the loophole that gives tax breaks to corporations that move jobs overseas. when he was asked what he would do to actually cut spending and reduce the deficit, he said he'd eliminate public television funding. don't boo now. but i just want to make sure i got this straight. he'll get rid of regulations on wall street. but he's going to crack down on sesame street. >> all right. so there's the president of the united states. he's got a good line there about mitt romney. he's been ridiculing mitt romney big time. he did it earlier today. now. something he avoided doing dramatically last night.
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, president obama shakes up the battle for the white house during a bruising debate performance that left many in his own party scratching their heads. is it now mitt romney's race to lose? is that premature? our own john king is at the magic wall with a closer look at how it all adds up right now. plus, the president's firing back today. he wasn't last night. just ahead, i'll ask his campaign press secretary what happened last night. and a deadly meningitis attack
spreading across six states. ahead, cnn's dr. sanjay gupta with what you need to know right now to protect yourself. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." mitt romney regains his momentum, hits the campaign trail running on the heels of a huge victory in denver. president obama also fired up today. he's throwing some serious counterpunches he may have wished he used last night. >> last night i thought was a great opportunity for the american people to see two very different visions for the country. and i think it was helpful to be able to describe those visions. i saw the president's vision as
trickled down government. and i don't think that's what america believes in. i see instead a prosperity that comes through freedom. and we have two very different courses for america. trickle down government or prosperity through freedom. and trickle down government that the president proposes is one where he will raise taxes on small business, which will kill jobs. i instead want to keep taxes down on small business so we can create jobs. this is about good jobs for the american people. >> all right. that was mitt romney earlier. you also heard from the president just a little while ago speaking at the university of wisconsin in madison. so how much of a game changer was last night's debate? our chief national correspondent john king is breaking it all down for us over at the magic wall. john, what does this mean for the candidates? what happened in denver? >> wolf, we know one thing that happened in denver, republicans received a lot of energy from the passionate performance of their candidate mitt romney. how much does that matter in the end? we'll see.
making phone calls today, early next week we'll see polling in the key battleground states. making phone calls today i talked to republicans and democrats, phone calls and e-mails in colorado where the debate was, in ohio, in virginia and florida. universally we were said, look, romney won the debate. no question about it. what are the republicans saying? money is coming in and enthusiasm on the ground when people are saying will you come and register voters than they were 24 hours ago. this helps romney with the base, republican energy, grass roots effort and republican money. one wha are the democrats saying? they say the president better show up next time and hopes his staff takes him in the room and say you need to care about this, you need to be passionate. you need to call governor romney when he leaves you openings and you need to show people you care and want to be there. wolf, here's the key question, we know what will give republicans energy, but also going into the debate romney was down a handful in florida, handful or more in virginia, handful or more in ohio where
you just showed the president moments ago in wisconsin. come to the electoral map, this is the big question. first of three debates, gives republicans energy at a time many of them were beginning to worry about the top of the ticket. so will it change the state of play? that is the thing to watch going forward into the vice presidential debate and then round two and three i would say the state to watch most is this one, ohio. governor romney needs to win it. had the president had a decisive debate performance last night, a lot of democrats are thinking he could have put ohio away because he was up five, six, maybe seven points there. that's not the case today, wolf. the president could have maybe put away a couple battleground state, he didn't do. the chance for mitt romney, can he capitalize? and how will the president try to recover? >> he certainly missed a golden opportunity i thought to solidify some of the standing in some of those key battleground states and he avoided some of the stuff he's saying today on the campaign trail he avoided saying last night. i think a lot of his own supporters are suggesting he missed that golden opportunity.
>> the form of vice president and al gore insists the altitude had something to do with it. but the president flew in to colorado too late to adapt to the mile high city. look, his own campaign team was trying to say the president didn't want to be too combative but he wasn't feisty enough. the question here is this though, we're in an election where we know governor romney has the republican vote, the president has the hard core democratic vote. governor romney needed to energize his base. he did that last night. will this have an impact on swing voters? one thing democrats are saying today in the focus groups and dial groups and polling last night looking at swing voters they say there was not a noticeable shift. maybe a few said governor romney was impressive, but they didn't see a big flood toward governor romney. wolf, make no question about this the president went into this debate with a little wind on his back, governor romney comes out having taken that wind away. >> quickly, john, a lot of democrats said to me today they're really worried that the president's lackluster performance last night may have hurt down ticket candidate, senate democrats for example who
may be having serious problems. this could energize the republicans in a state like massachusetts, for example, scott brown in his race against elizabeth warren, they're worried that the president's performance last night could hurt some of those vulnerable senate democrats. >> and that is of course the very same dynamic we were hearing from republicans 24, 48, 72 hours before the debate. would the guy at the top of the ticket be hurting the rest of us down ballot? look, there's a month left in this election. the president has two debates to recover, other ways to recover, out campaigning watch and see in the next week does campaign ad spending and content change in the next weeks? but the democrats have the jitters that the republicans had last week. a long way to go but the big thing last night some democrats thought with the strong first debate performance the president could all but put this away. that didn't happen and we have quite a horse race. >> we certainly do. we'll see what the polls in the next few days show. i expect there will be a bounce for mitt romney. john, thanks very much. jack cafferty has his own take on last night's presidential
debate. he's here with the cafferty file, jack. >> if president obama had been a broadway show last night, it would have closed after one performance. even the president's staunch supporters were baffled by president obama's lackluster effort. "what was he doing?" james carville," romney came in with a chain saw." and andrew sullivan, "he choked, he may have even lost the election tonight." a margin of almost three to one they thought mitt romney won the first debate. 67% to 25%. what happened to the mesmerizing president who captivated audiences in berlin and cairo more than three years ago? where was the visionary who saw a path for this country that was so compelling he became the first african-american president in our history? watching the debate last night i got the impression president
obama didn't even want to be there. he seemed annoyed at times and disengaged. and he allowed mitt romney back in the race big time. when the debates now shift to foreign policy, it's not likely to get any easier for the president. the middle east is a tinderbox. the murder of an american ambassador in libya goes begging for an explanation as to why repeated requests for additional security in our consulate in benghazi were turned down. and the white house won't answer any questions about this except to say that the fbi is conducting an investigation. the fbi. that's not nearly enough. here's the question, why did president obama do so poorly at last night's debate? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on the blog or go to our post on "the situation room" facebook page. >> good question, jack. bored, aloof, even arrogant, some of the words critics are using to describe the
president's performance at last night's debate. up next i'll ask his press secretary to explain the performance what was going on. plus, pursed lips and raised eyebrows. how one expert uses special software to measure the candidates' expressions. questions? anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'.
the obama campaign is fighting back today even as the president's most ardent supporters were criticizing his performance in last night's debate. so what happened? let's discuss what happened with ben la bolt, the national press secretary for the obama campaign. he's joining us from chicago. very different president obama today. we just heard him at the university of wisconsin, than what we heard last night. he seemed aloof at times and not all that interested. what happened there, ben? >> well, i don't think the president viewed the debates as a steel cage match. he came in with a goal of reaching that undecided voter in tampa or denver turning on their tv from the couch at home for
the first time this election cycle to really focus on the economic choice in this election. and that's when he laid out how he was going to create those good paying sustainable jobs for the middle class. for mitt romney he delivered fine performance art, but he danced around his positions on the issues. so we wanted to make sure today that we're holding him accountable. that $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest americans he never explained how he'd pay for that without raising taxes on the middle class. he never said would he replace the affordable care act with when he repeals it. you've seen the president on the campaign trail holding him accountable for that. >> why didn't the president say some of the things that your campaign has been using and advertising so effectively? for example, romney's very controversial 47% remark about half the country basically being victims, if you will, dependent on the government. we didn't hear any of that from the president last night. >> well, you've seen the polling. i think the 47% remark was the
remark heard across the country and around the world. and we've got advertisements up on the air right now. i think that's most effective when you hear it from mitt romney in his own words writing off half the population saying that they're victims, saying they won't take personal responsibility for their lives. but the core question on the ballot in november is, how do we break the economic stalemate in washington? should we continue to build the economy from the middle class out, invest in education and manufacturing, research and development, research the deficit in a balanced way? or should we do what mitt romney wants to do, which is return to the same policies that caused the economic crisis in the first place? and that's the choice he laid out last night. >> i guess the question a lot of your own supporters are asking, if mitt romney was hammering away at the president as he was last night, why didn't the president respond in kind bring up for example the cayman islands or swiss bank accounts or bain capital, outsourcing jobs, any of those things we've heard so much about? that was a moment where 50
million or 60 million people were watching. >> well, i know that pundents like to keep a score card of how many punches the candidates land. that was the republicans goal for the republican convention in tampa repeating the same widely debunked attacks against the president. you saw what the impact of the race was after that. it didn't move voters. but the president's convention speech was criticized, but a week later you saw that polling and it reached the americans that we needed to reach with his plans to restore economic security for the middle class. if we need to tweak anything or change anything, i think we are a little bit surprised by how dishonest mitt romney was last night about his record, the mitt romney who campaigned in the republican primary was touting those $5 trillion tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. and talking about repealing obama care and will hold him responsible for those positions. >> why do you think the polling though showed overwhelmingly the american people, our polls, the cbs poll, ours by three to one
showed that the president lost and romney won. >> well, you know what the history is here of the first debate against an incumbent president, five out of the last six times the challenger was perceived as winning. the first time you're on stage next to the president of the united states it adds stature. we haven't seen any fundamental shift in the dynamic of this race. it's been close and competitive for a year and a half. it will be won in key states. that's where the president is today in denver, in wisconsin, making his case about the economic choice in this election. >> i thought romney was pretty effective in turning around what could have been a liability into an asset last night on the whole issue of health care reform. listen to this. watch this. >> i like the way we did it in massachusetts. i liked the fact that in my state we had republicans and democrats come together and work together. what you did instead was to push through a plan without a single republican vote. as a matter of fact, when
massachusetts did something quite extraordinary, elected a republican senator to stop obama care, you pushed it through anyway. so entirely on a partisan basis instead of bringing america together and having a discussion on this important topic -- >> you can see the president's face he was obviously upset when he heard that romney worked with democrats and republicans in massachusetts but the president failed in his ability to score some sort of bipartisan health care reform in washington. >> because it simply isn't credible coming from mitt romney. mitt romney is the godfather of obama care. he passed health care reform in massachusetts. he said it should serve as a model for the nation. it did. the president enlisted his same advisors to develop health care reform in a national level. but now he's running for a different office, mitt romney doesn't believe we should be taking on rising health care costs and providing affordable accessible coverage to the american people. and, again, he wasn't telling the truth about his position. he said he'd cover you if you have a pre-existing condition. what he left out is, if you
don't currently have coverage, if you're between plans or between job, he returns you to this status quo, you won't have coverage when mitt romney repeals the affordable care act. >> well, he did say he wants states to go ahead and enact health care reform just as massachusetts did. and in massachusetts he does have the legislation he signed into law does protect people with pre-existing conditions. >> it will leave millions and millions without coverage. >> if the states don't want that. here's what chris christie said over the weekend before the debate. he got a lot of grief for this. but let me play it for you. >> we have a candidate who is going to do extraordinarily well on wednesday night. he's going to lay out his vision for america. he's going to contrast what his view is with what the president's record is. and the president's view for the future. and this whole race is going to be turned upside down come thursday morning. >> he sounds pretty smart right there. but do you think the president and his advisors, those helping him whether john kerry playing
mitt romney or other aides underestimated mitt romney? >> i don't think so at all. we knew that mitt romney was preparing for this debate. the earliest candidate on record to do so. started preparations in july. did five mock sessions within 48 hours. took the entire week of the democratic convention down. and we saw him last year, remember, he participated in 20 debates last year. he bragged about winning 16 of them. and after he mowed down his republican primary opponents, he'd tell them to stop whining. so i think everybody knew what we were in for. we expected a good performance from mitt romney. but that's what it was. it was performance art. he locked himself into some bad positions that he took during the republican primary, tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, refusing to -- a dime for the wealthiest. and to talk about on the campaign trail in the weeks ahead. >> i assume in the next presidential debate the president will be certainly much more aggressive. that's just my assumption.
we'll see what happens. ben labolt, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. thanks for having me. in our next hour, i want to alert our viewers, eric fehrnstrom, senior advisor to mitt romney, he's going to be joining us. we'll go through the debate with him as well. after last night's debate, is big bird really an endangered species? we're going to have a reality check. sleek new styling... sophisticated dual cockpit design, and sport sculpted seats. available chevrolet mylink infotainment system. the all-new 2013 chevrolet malibu. ♪ refined comfort to get you in a malibu state of mind no matter what state you live in. ♪ you're not using too much are you, hon? ♪ nope. [ female announcer ] charmin ultra soft is so soft you'll have to remind your family they can use less.
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president obama's talking about mitt romney's debate remark that he'd cut funding for public broadcasting even though he loves big bird. turns out lots of people love big bird. and romney's promise really set them off. lisa sylvester's back. she's got more on the reaction, which has been intense. >> it has, wolf. you know, this was a topic that even came up within the last hour. president obama mentioning it during a rally at the university of wisconsin, madison. and the president essentially mocking mitt romney over this issue. most of the debate as expected focused on the core issues of
the day. and then there was this. >> i'm sorry, jim, i'm going to stop the subsidy to pbs, i'm going to stop other things. i like pbs, i like big bird, i actually like you too, but i'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from china to pay for it. >> reporter: the mere mention of cutting funds to big bird sent the social media world into high gear. pictures like this with big bird on the ropes. president obama on the campaign trail. >> i mean, thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on big bird. >> reporter: the pentagon, which has been a close ally of the eight-foot tall bird was asked about it at the briefing. >> i'm not going to get into politics here. i wouldn't want to ruffle any feathers so to speak. >> reporter: but big bird has some conservatives a little plucked. they argue that it's time to stop funding public broadcast programs like sesame street, npr and the pbs news hour.
brian darling is with the con zefbtive heritage foundation. >> it's not at all. using public funds to fund entertainment, furthermore, it's a waste of money when there are private resources doing similar functions. we love big bird, but maybe it's time for him to go out and find a real job in the private sector and stop sponging off the federal government. >> reporter: is big bird part of the infamous 47%? well, here's how it breaks down. the corporation for public broadcasting receives about $445 million a year. 70% of that goes directly to local pbs stations that rely on federal funds and private donations to stay in business. but big bird and the rest of the sesame street gang actually stand on their own feet. 93% of that program is paid for by licensing fees and corporate underwriting. so who could be hurt? pbs president says stations particularly those in rural
parts of the country, will go dark without the federal dollars. >> for many families that do not have access to computers, that may not have books in the home, they have televisions and public broadcasting is really their way of accessing content that will help their children have the basic skills that will enable them to be successful in school. >> reporter: pbs says what they receive is less than 1/100th of a percentage point. and even big bird weighed in today with this tweet saying "my bedtime is usually 7:45, but i was really tired yesterday and i fell asleep at 7:00. did i miss anything last night?" so clearly folks having fun with this. but it is a serious issue because they could potentially lose funding. >> a lot of people say if big bird were to lose its pbs home, there would be plenty of other networks li networks, private networks. >> the point being you have to have cable television for that. remember, there are a lot of
people in this country that don't have cable and they can't afford it. many of these families may not have books, that's the point you hear pbs making which is for many kids, particularly young kids from low income families, sesame street is where they get their first introduction to things like phonics. >> what if a broadcast network picked it up, like nbc, abc or cbs, that's over the air for free. >> that's the potential. but the concern is that something will be lost in terms of the educational value if you have a private company that's going to now be running this children's programming. because the whole concept -- they said it's like public parks, public libraries. that's why we provide a public service. that's the argument we're hearing them make, wolf. >> i'm sure we'll hear more about that argument in the weeks and months to come. thanks very much, lisa, for that. after critics and supporters alike slammed the president's performance last night in the debate, the pressure is on his running mate right now. standby.
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let's get to our strategy session right now. joining us our cnn political contributors, the democratic strategist donna brazile. the republican strategist, former huntsman 2012 hispanic co-chairman ana navarro. ladies, thanks for coming in. i'll play a clip, mitt romney last night talking about why the president's agenda is not working. >> what we're seeing right now is in my view a trickle down government approach which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. and it's not working. the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. the proof of that is one in six people in poverty. the proof is we've gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. the proof of that is that 50% of college graduates this year can't find work.
we know that the path we're taking is not working. it's time for a new path. >> now, according to our poll that we did right out of this debate, that aggressive tone that he took, donna, is working. 58% thought romney would be the stronger leader. we asked who would be a stronger leader, 37% said president obama would be a stronger leader. how much of a problem going forward in the coming days is this right now for the president? >> you know, president obama should look at him and say, you know, mitt romney, those same people you're talking about, they lost their jobs, they lost their homes because, you know what, wall street, wall street. he should have just took the ball straight into mitt romney's -- >> why didn't he? >> because, i think -- i had an opportunity to analyze it all day. i think the president was just trying to stay above the fray. not look like he was part of the partisan bickering in washington, d.c. pointing fingers. in hindsight, when we look at this in probably five or ten days, i think president obama will come out of this okay. but for right now a lot of
people woke up upset. but i'm telling everybody just hold on. we still have 33 days left. >> a little heartburn. chris christie was right in that bold prediction he made over the weekend that we would wake up thursday morning and have a whole new ball game. he was pretty right about that. >> he was absolutely on point. he took a little heat over it. >> he did. >> over the weekend when it seemed like he was off script. everybody else was trying to lower expectations. and i think part of the problem that president obama had last night was precisely the expectations game. even though his campaign tried to lower them, we saw polls just before this debate where the vast majority of americans were expecting him to win and dominate this debate. so when that didn't happen, it looked even worse. and, yes, i think we need another prediction from chris christie for next week, wolf. >> how much pressure is the vice president under right now? he has a debate against paul ryan coming up next thursday, a week from today. everybody's going to be watching that one as well. >> well, i would advise the vice president what i tried to tell the president's team, look, you
don't know which candidate will show up. the severe conservative or the mild moderate. so prepare yourself for both candidates. a candidate that will continue to talk about the, you know, government waste and government fraud, government abuse. but the candidate that also will go out there and say, well, government's on your side. we want to be on your side. so i think the vice president will be well versed and well rehearsed. >> he's a very good debater, joe biden. i moderated four years ago when he was running for the democratic nomination. several debates he participated in those debates. i thought a lot of times he or chris dodd who was also running, they did better than barack obama, maybe even hillary clinton in some of those deba s debates. he's tough. but the question is this, which paul ryan will show up? the new paul ryan since he got the nomination, much more reserved? or the older paul ryan when he was the house budget committee chairman, very tough, very feisty. >> i think paul ryan is going to show up one that's briefed, prepared, ready to go on this
momentum. i agree joe biden is a good debater, but he's also rusty. the last debate he had was against sarah palin. i think debating paul ryan and sarah palin are two completely different animals. and we haven't seen him do a lot of debating. so, you know, let's hope that he doesn't show up as rusty. if not, it will really build on republican momentum. and i think it will change the tone of this race. two debates where the republicans can really change it. >> a lot of the president's supporters didn't think he spent enough time preparing for this debate. romney spent a lot more time preparing than the president did. how much time between now and next thursday should the vice president spend? get rid of his campaigning and start practicing, practicing, practicing a debate against paul ryan? >> look, first of all, mitt romney's been in dress rehearsal for opening night on broadway for five years. there's no way you can take that much time off. but that aside he had a great debate performance and i don't
want to downplay that. it was a good debate performance. but i think the president should have put enough time on his schedule to be well-rested and well-versed in how these republicans can do this etch-a-sketch thing. i think what catches liberals off guard is that we assume you're going to walk in there and defend your record, defend what you've been saying on the campaign trail and not make some stuff you have that we have to now figure out, where'd that come from? i think the president last night was stunned. it looked like he was stunned. >> ana, you live in florida. is this debate last night going to help? how much is it going to help? i think it will help romney a little bit, but how much in florida? >> i think it helps him some, wolf. i think it helps him some everywhere. i think it helps him with the republican party. a lot of grumbling going on and nervousness within our party. if he had not performed the way he did, we would be here today talking about his political obituary. instead we're seeing a political resurrection. this is a -- >> conservative base of the gop,
they are energized today. they're raising money galore at this moment. and they were demoralized going into the debate. >> wolf, when conservatives get angry and demoralized, then we have to talk about race, then we have to talk about welfare. i'm glad they got something else to talk about today. and if they need some more tissue after the next debate, i promise i'll go to costco and get a whole six-pack. >> you may need some for yourself, my friend. >> i did that last night. i'm over it. >> ladies, looking forward to the debates. two more presidential debates. we'll watch them here on cnn. i'm also getting new information about how the president is feeling about last night's debate. what my sources are telling me coming up at the top of the next hour. ♪ lord, you got no reason ♪ you got no right ♪ ♪ i find myself at the wrong place ♪ [ male announcer ] the ram 1500 express.
monitoring some of the other top stories? "the situation room" right now. what else is going on, lisa? >> hi, wolf. 91 people are facing criminal charges accused of defrauding medicare out of $430 million. the justice department and attorney general eric holder say doctors, nurses and others in seven cities came up with schemes to bill medicare for unnecessary treatments. and one's patient never even got one doctor is charged with writing 30,000 prescriptions resulting in $100 million in fraud. and detroit tigers third base miguel cabrera has done something that hasn't happened in 45 years. he's won baseball's triple crown. he ended the season leading the american league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. and it all came down to yesterday's game. and he was able to hold onto his leads despite going 0 for 2. now the question is, will he be the mvp? and kitchenaide is doing damage
control after a staffer tweeted this from the company's twitter handle during the debate. "obama's grandma even knew it was going to be bad. she died three days before he became president." ouch. it was sent after the president mentioned his grandmother's death. kitchenaid immediately apologized explaining the employee meant to send it from her personal account. kitchenaid said that person won't be tweeting for them anymore. that's got to be so embarrassing for kitchenaid. >> shouldn't send that kind of stuff from a personal -- >> exactly. it's nasty and unwarranted. >> thanks, lisa. their expressions may tell more than their words sometimes. we're taking a close look at special face reading software. what it reveals about the presidential debate.
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political observers were certainly poring over every word. a special software program was actually, get this, analyzing their expressions, facial expressions, to be sure. brian todd is here. he spoke with some of the folks involved in this. what's going on here? >> wolf, this is all about how we watched these debates these days. we pay attention to every little thing, tone of voice, body language, facial expressions are also often very telling. and one analyst says software used to measure that, software that he used, can tell us who came out on top. chris cole wasn't focusing on policies, tax plans or track records in wednesday's debate. he was looking at, well, how they looked. >> governor romney was much more expressive than president obama was. >> kowel's an expert in the communication of emotions, an assistant professor at purdue university. he employs software called face
reader traditionally used by marketers to measure people's responses to products and applies it to political candidates. the software creates superimposed mesh masks on their faces which kowel says measure the movements of hundreds of muscle points on his face. what did he measure on mitt romney's face? >> in this feature here you can see his eyebrows are slightly up. and this would suggest an emotion of surprise. but at the same time when you look at how his lips and nose are, that might represent something about a negative type of emotion of disgust or something like that. >> reporter: the clinched lips combined with the surprised eyebrows kowel says he saw consistently from romney. he says that helped romney with his supporters who are angry over the economy. >> by communicating specifically that type of anger and that type of scorn, romney is building a bridge that connects to those
voters. >> reporter: by contrast, kowel says president obama was expression neutral aside from the occasional raised eyebrow, smile or smirk which the romney campaign leveraged into a new ad. >> in the short-term, obama can close the sale. we're seeing that if he were to be more expressive and express the emotion that his voters are feeling, his voters then would start rating him as more charismat charismatic. >> reporter: what about body language? we measured that with a movement analyst at the university of maryland. she says president obama had the edge there at the beginning. a strong handshake, a clasp of romney's arm that projected dominance. but within an hour she says the president wilted. >> see, he's blinking here. he's tired here. >> reporter: also illustrated with one camera angle behind them, romney's upright still
energetic. >> here barack obama is dropping his focus. he's beginning to drop away from mitt romney. and here he comes down to his paper. >> she says president obama dropped his posture like that quite often especially late in the debate. she says that was a viewers tha the better of him. wolf, everybody i watched your telecast last night and everybody thought that romney had gotten the better of him coming right out of the gate after it was over. a lot of it had to do with the expressions, just all the body language. throughout the debate, we showed both faces, the candidates speaking and the other one was just listening and people were watching both of those faces and the split screen, as we call it. what did this woman say that both of these candidates need to do in their next debate? >> president obama can get his mojo back but, he has to get more rest before the debate. romney she says, has to try to sustain his bearing but what he showed in that debate was very strong and a departure from previous debates in the primary.
can't revert to some of the awkwardness. let's see if he can keep this bearing up. if he can, he'll be in good shape. >> thanks very, very much. who knew. jack cafferty is back with the cafferty file. jack? >> our viewers have all the answers to this. the question is, why did president obama do so poorly at last night's debates? as has happened before in his presidency, he looked very poor and took poor advice from his staff. he was advised to by modest, hummable and nonconfrontational. americans want to see president who is confident, in command of every situation, fearless and a strong leader. instead, he came across as a fe feckless wimp. he looked as though he's satisfied he has his place in history locked up and that's good enough. his performance was appalling.
anyone working hard for his eelection should just quit. i don't believe he's in it to be fair. mr. romney did well, granted the media set the bar for him so low that if he didn't fall through a hole in the stage, he met expectations. perhaps the bar for the president was set too high or perhaps the man that some thought they knew back in 2008 never really existed. back then words like messiah and the new jfk were put on him, they weren't used by him. last night we saw mr. obama for what he really is, human. to think he's anything above that is unfair to the man. lisa in connecticut says i'm hoping that there is a plan to lull him and then crush him the next time with real facts, figures and no stumering or stammering. mitt romney still running on trust me. his positions keep changing. i'm not sure he gets credit for the message but the delivery was good. obama didn't have his
teleprompter and looked confused and lost without it. obama has a poor record the last four years and romney had a chance to attack it without the liberal press protecting obama. pete in georgia says, don't you know? i'm sure it was all bush's fault. if you want to read more on this, go to the blog. cnn.com/caffertyfile or to our post on the situation room's facebook page. wolf? >> i'm also hearing from some of my sources about how the president feels about his debate performance last night. details of that coming up in our next hour. are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
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cases in six states with at least five people have died, but that number could rise. officials are tying the outbreak to contaminated vials of a drug that may have been given to patients in 23 states. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is joining us now. sanjay, different types of meningitis. what type is this? >> this is something known as a fungal meningitis caused by a fungus, which i will tell you at the start, wolf, very unusual in people who are healthy. typically something you see in people who have weakened immune systems, but the meningitis that we typically hear about is usually caused by a virus. those are the more mild cases. you can have bacterial meningitis which is caused by a bacteria and those can be treated with antibiotics and these fungal cases are pretty unusually. an inflammation of the meninges which is the lining of the
spinal cord and brain. people can become quite sick from this, as you know. >> how fatal is this particular type of meningitis? >> well, you know, the fungus meningitis because it happens in people who have immune systems it can be serious and fatal and as we're hearing, even in the situation, these people who were otherwise healthy or did not have weakened immune systems by my count have died. this is pretty significant and i think it's also one of these things that is more difficult to treat. with the bacterial meningitis, good antibiotic as out there, with the fungal meningitis harder to diagnosis and harder to treatment, wolf. >> what is the source of this particular form of meningitis sph. >> yeah, this is really interesting, wolf. i think it's almost like a medical detective story a in some ways. there were, it could take a while for people to develop symptoms. could take up to 28 days, for
example. so, when people started having the sickness, fungal meningitis wasn't the first thing people were looking for because, again, it's not that common. but once they figured it out, they had to literally trace back why are all these people getting fungal meningitis and what do they have in common? again, a real detective story and what they found is that they all received epidural injections of a type of steroid medication? now, that's oft aen given because people have back pain or some other symptom in their lower back and that medication is given at that time and they went back and they looked at the lots of these medications. you know, the lots in which they come and try to find if there was a contaminant specifically. what they said no stop using this particular medication from these particular lot numbers, but that's sort of how they piece it all together, wolf. they're still working on it now, wolf. >> back pain, is that the major symptom people should be concerned about? what else is there? >> i think the back pain is typically what took them
probably to the doctors or pain clinics in the first place and then that's the epidural injection is what was recommended. i think at this point people getting epidural injections because of back pain or other reasons do need to talk to their doctor specifically about this and most hospitals are going to be made aware now that there are potentially contaminated lots of this steroid medication. they believe it was a steroid medication that has possibly contaminated and that's how the fungus is getting into these people's bodies. >> serious, serious issue out there, sanjay. thanks for explaining what's going on. >> you got it, wolf, any time. thank you. happening now, president obama trying to bounce back. what my sources are telling me. we're awaiting mitt romney live this hour. taking a victory lap and hoping to build on his debate momentum. and the squawk about big bird's cameo in the obama/romney faceoff. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the
situation room." let's begin this hour with what my sources are telling me about the president of the united states. he is upset today, they say he knows he lost his first debate with mitt romney. as i watched the president last night, i kept wondering why he was ignoring some of thiz strongest attack lines against romney. on taxes, for example, caymen island and swiss bank accounts. his record at bain capital, why didn't the president go after romney's remark on the 47% of americans who don't pay income taxes, just as he's done on the campaign trail? >> we certainly can't go very far with a leader who writes off half the nation as a bunch of victims. >> instead, the president surprisingly dragged donald trump into the debate. >> under governor romney's definition, there are a whole
bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are a small business. donald trump is a small business. i know donald trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything. >> back in 2007 and 2008 i saw a different barack obama at the time. he wasn't necessarily a fabulous debater, but very solid and he went after his opponents when he had to. >> you talked about ronald reagan being a transformative political leader. i did not mention his name. >> well, i'm here, he's not. >> i can't tell who i'm running against sometimes. >> last night the president's most heated exchange may have been with the moderator, jim lehrer instead of romney. >> the last point i'd make before -- >> two minutes is up, sir. >> no, i had five seconds before you interrupted me. >> the preparation team, i believe, did not serve him well, but they have a chance to get it right over the next two presidential debates.
this is still a very, very close race and a lot could happen in the four and a half weeks until the election. by the way, you can already see a difference in the president today. he came out swinging in front of a massive crowd in wisconsin, just a little while ago. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is traveling with the president. jessica, we saw a very different president obama today than we saw last night. >> wolf, we sure did. today it was do over obama using some of the comebacks he missed last night. we heard it first in denver at his morning rally and, again, this afternoon in a second rally here in madison, wisconsin, with the message, i bet the president wishes he had delivered last night. let's listen to some of it. >> when i got on the stage, i met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney. but i know it couldn't have been mitt romney. because the real mitt romney has
been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy and, yet, the fellow on the stage last night who looked like mitt romney said he didn't know anything about that. >> i'm told, first of all, the theme by both the president and his aides that mitt romney is full of dishonesty and distortion and you heard all the spin, but i'm told by multiple people that the president, his team did not expect the governor to come out as forcefully, as aggressively, sort of dialing back on some of the themes of his campaign to date on both tax as and on medicare, wolf. >> are they saying that he's going to be doing something dramatically differently going forward, for example, the next two presidential debates? >> what they're saying publicly is that he will adjust. that's fair phrase.
he will adjust. some ways you could see him adjust are, first of all, the president has valued and his team value his likability more than anything else. that is his biggest winning asset and there is a sort of do no harm mentality going in. so, you saw him be very, very hesitant to attack in any way. i think in the next debate, i wouldn't be surprised if you saw him more willing to lean into it and go on the attack, at least defend himself in his own policies and point out when he thinks romney is not being fully honest and, also, there was a quality where he wanted to talk beyond the debate and look straight into the camera and talk to the audience at home, rather than engaging romney more directly and, again, i think you'll see him engage more directly in the next debate. the president is very competitive and he likes to win and i think you'll see a change in style in the next debate. >> he was in a split screen, we were watching him even when romney was speaking so all of thez facial expressions that
didn't help him either. >> yeah, go ahead. >> i find that hard to believe after the gore 2000 experience with al gore sighing and how the split screen really did a disservice to al gore. i find it hard to believe that any sophisticated political operation would not prepare for that. but, maybe the president just didn't want to think about it. he doesn't like to take style advice. it's not his kind of thing but after last night, i bet he will. >> i was always told somebody attacks you, you attack right back. all right, jessica, thanks very much. kate baldwin is here and she's watching what is going on, especially mitt romney. he has a different challenge today than the president. >> i would say so, he wants to get as much out of this debate victory as much as possible. h our national political correspondent jim acosta is traveling with governor romney. hey, there, jim. >> hi, kate, yes. you can tell that the romney
campaign is in the mood to celebrate. this rally that they're about to have in virginia is starting to sound like a party. trace adkins the country music star will be out on stage to warm up this crowd for the gop ticket. but today was really the debate after the debate. i don't remember why mitt romney did so well against president obama, but whether or not the gop nominee's words were accurate. mitt romney took his victory lap after the first presidential debate receiving a sustained standing ovation during a surprise visit to a conference of conservatives in denver. >> i saw the president's vision as trickle down government. and i don't think that's what america believes in. i see, instead, a prosperity that comes through freedom. >> reporter: it didn't take long after the debate was finished for the romney campaign to turn the spin room into the win room. are you declaring victory? >> jim, if this was a boxing match, the referee would have called it.
>> reporter: spending too much time in debate prep and not enough in rallies and swing states that the romney campaign felt vindicated. the republican contender was more ready than the president. >> i think at the end of the day, both the president and governor romney probably put in an equal amount of time of preparing for this debate. >> reporter: just two days after the president joked his own advisors were pushing him to do more debate prep. >> they're making me do my homework. >> reporter: jim messina suggested that romney had an advantage going into this debate. >> any president in modern political history and preparing since july and took out an entire week. when you're president, you can't do that. >> we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kind of treatment we should have. >> reporter: the rnc released a new video called the smirk seizing on the president's uncomfortable body language. romney could only look to this campaign ad to see the president has a new line of attack.
>> if we can't trust him here, how could we ever trust him here? >> reporter: democrats are already labeling some of romney's statements, like this one on health care, outright lies. >> pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. >> well, actually, governor, that isn't what your plan does. >> reporter: on romney's campaign plane, ed gulillespie says he has his ads wrong. >> they have been flat out wrong and repudiated in terms of their assertions and statements. >> now, as for those comments from edgillespie. as the plane was landing here in virginia. we were told by the flight attendant that we all had to sit down, as well as the romney campaign staff because we were coming in for a landing here in virginia, but the fact that they came to the back of the plane to talk about the president's ad and to talk about what had gone on today, i think it's a sign,
wolf, that they felt that they had to respond to what the obama campaign was putting out today in terms of that ad and what the president was saying earlier today at that event. one other thing that ed gillespie said. he said look for mitt romney to go after the president on taxes. that could be a sign, kate, that could be a sign that they're going to be seizing on some comments that vice president joe biden made earlier today when he said, yes, he and the president will be raising taxes by a trillion dollars. now, he did say that that would be on wealthier americans, but the romney campaign and the rnc shortened that to just the part where biden says raising taxes by a trillion dollars. so, there's a sign that i think the romney campaign, mitt romney and paul ryan will be going after that in just a few moments, wolf and kate. >> we'll keep an eye on that. jim acosta in california, thank you so much. as jim mentioned we'll stand by to hear from mitt romney and paul ryan. we'll go to their campaign event live when it happens.
>> we heard from the president at that huge rally at the university of madison. a lot of harsh words are flying around after the presidential debate. we'll hear from an obama ally who calls the president's strategy last night disastrous. and we'll also hear from a romney adviser who is responding to the obama's campaign charge that romney misled debate watchers. ♪ we're lucky, it's not every day you find a companion as loyal as a subaru. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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many of the president's allies are openly acknowledging that his first debate appearance fell flat last night. and the independent senator from vermont, senator bernie sanders is joining us now. senator, thanks very much for coming in. >> my pleasure. >> you are a very blunt guy and always tell us what's on your mind. how do you think the president did in the debate last night? >> poorly. no question about it. i think he was listless, but
clearly while romney won from a performance point of view, from a policy point of view and honesty point of view, romney was a failure, as well. >> senator, so much is being made about the performance last night and his initial reaction today. what do you think was the problem with president obama last night? was it a problem of preparation or do you think he's off his game? >> well, kate, let me just say this. i think these guys are not auditioning for the "american idol." they're not singers, we're not electing great singers and act aers. we are electing people who presumably are going to give us policy to protect the middle class and working families of this country. if you look at the policies that romney is talking about, first of all, they are a disaster for the middle class. second of all, what he did last night has totally transformed his campaign from what he has been saying for his last year and a half. been telling us forever.
this speaks through his etch a sketch. he will lower taxes for the wealthiest people in the country and transforming medicare away from where it is right now into a voucher program. massive cuts in medicaid, education and virtually every program that working people depend upon. also, he's going to increase defense spending. yesterday, last night, he suddenly became a raving moderate, oh, he's not going to cut, he's not going to cut medicaid. he is not going to cut education. he is not going to give tax breaks to the wealthy. that is total hypocrisy because that is what he has been talking about for the last year and a half. >> that's why so many liberals, so many democrats, so many of the president's supporters are very concerned because the president had numerous opportunities to make some of those points that you just made. instead, we got something very different. let me play a few clips of what the president said.
>> governor romney and i both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high. we both agree that we have to boost american energy production and it appears we have some agreept that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation. i suspect on social security we have a somewhat similar position. >> you understand what he was trying to do there because i got a bit confused. >> well, i think you're right, wolf. i think that is a disastrous approach. the truth of the matter is, mitt romney right now is the head of a right wing extremist party called the republican party. wasn't always that case. that's what they are today. and if the president cannot differentiate himself from right wing we have a lot of problems as a nation and he has a lot of problems as a candidate running for re-election. in terms of social security, in terms of social security, it is absurd for the president to say that he and romney are coming down in the same way.
social security today has a $2.7 trillion surplus. social security hasn't contributed one nick toel to th deficit. can pay out benefits for the next 21 years. the president should be saying now what he said four years ago. he will not cut social security while romney and ryan certainly are. >> now, senator, one thing that i think is puzzling democrats and supporters of the president, as well, today is both men had a chance at closing arguments last night. that is one of the things that they knew was coming their direction. listen in part to what president obama had to say. >> four years ago, i said that i'm not a perfect man and i wouldn't be a perfect president and that is a promise that governor romney thinks i kept. >> why specifically point out the flaws? was that a good choice? >> well, i think not. i mean, i think -- here's what i think the position of the president should be. look, everybody knows the economy is in a lot of trouble today. we all know that. everybody knows that the rich are getting much richer and the
middle class is shrinking and poverty and that is the simple truth. but what he should remind people over and over again is that romney's proposals, romney's policies are exactly what george w. bush's were and at the end of the bush era, when obama was coming in, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. as a result of the deregulation of wall street and romney wants more deregulation. not only was the american financial system on the verge of collapse, so was the entire world hitting us into a tremendous depression, not recession, depression. that's where we were four years ago. we are not in great shape now but the idea of going back to bush's policy more deregulation and more tax breaks for the rich and cutting social security, medicare and medicaid and more free trade so we continue to lose more jobs in this country.
the president should say, sorry, we were there for eight years, it failed, we will move in a different direction. >> all points that he had an opportunity to, but he did not make last night, wolf. >> he had good opportunities and he never did mention, as you quo, the 47% comment that mitt romney admitted the closed door fund-raiser back in may down in florida. here's the bottom line question. who deserves the blame for that performance last night? would you blame the president himself or his aides and his advisors who supposedly were preparing him for this first debate? >> hey, wolf, you know, all of us in public life like to blame our staff when things go bad. but at the end of the day, it's the president. it's the united states senator. it's the congress person. we have to take responsibility. the president should have gone in there swinging, differentiating what a policy position is, as opposed to an a extreme right one and put romney on the defensive. how dare you give tax breaks to the richest people in this country when we have the most unfair distribution of wealth
and income of any major country on earth. how dare you throw children off of medicaid where you have 50 million people without any health insurance today. put them on the defensive instead of saying, oh, i agree with you on this, i agree with you on that. so, you have to take responsibility and the responsibility is with the president. >> senator we'll see if he follows your advice in the next debate and the one after that. we'll stay in close touch with you. thanks very much for joining us. >> my pleasure, thank you. we'll get the republican take on the debate, that's coming up this hour. we'll be joined by senior romney campaigned a ed adviser. >> the president claims that mitt romney supports a $5 trillion tax cut. romney says it isn't so. we'll have a reality check on that on their debate, just up.
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looking at live pictures right now, mitt romney getting ready to speak before a crowd in virginia. live coverage coming up. stay with us for that. in the meantime, a reality check now, one of the sharper exchanges during the first presidential debate last night. at issue, tax cuts. $5 trillion worth. our own tom foreman is taking a look at the claims and counterclaims. what do you see? >> this is one place where the president really lit up. he went over mitt romney over his plan to spur the economy by cutting taxes 20%. the president said this is just a formula for economic disaster. his claim, if you cut $5
trillion in taxes, the middle class will wind up paying. romney says, no way. >> governor romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the extension of the bush tax cuts, that's another trillion dollars and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. >> i won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. no economist says that mitt romney's tax plan can add $5 trillion if i will not add to tit with the tax plan. >> nonpartisan, a lot of people say it leans a little bit left and could be a tough job to get done, what mr. romney says, according to their analysis. especially when they consider romney's wish list. he wants to pay for this by closing loopholes but with tax, like, for example, mortgage exemptions for homeowners out
there and he wants no increase in the deficit and no increase in middle class taxes, just to name a few things. their analysts say romney might be able to get some of that, but even if the economy really started growing because of this tax cut, it's hard to imagine that he could make all of that work all at once. now, another group, the right leaning conservative american enterprise institute says its analysts say they do see a way that this could work out. but the fundamental problem, really, mitt romney has not released enough details of his plan for anyone to make a complete assessment. so, what's going on here? well, president obama is essentially buying into the dooms day scenario saying if nothing works, yes, it could add up to a fiscal mess and the middle class voters could be left with the bill. governor romney on the other hand is buying into the converse idea that everything will just go right and the economy will take off and everyone will enjoy the ride all indications are that the truth lies somewhere between those two scenarios and
an awful lot of details that we still just don't have, wolf? >> is this kind of vague plan kind of common for candidates out there, tom? >> oh, sure. they do this sort of thing all the time and one thing i should point out legitimate concerns that mr. romney is not giving here. could turn out the president is right, once we get those details. all we have to do is think back to the last election when barack obama was running and he talked about health care reform. the big headline was, we're going to insure 30 million uninsured people out there, but a lot of details lacking early on, too. a lot of people saying the devil was in the details. those, indeed, had to be sorted out over a long period of time. this is sort of the messy process of running for office and winning or not. wolf? >> all right, tom, good explanation. thanks very much. obviously, complicated, but, important. romney senior adviser eric is standing by to join us live. he'll explain to this latest back and forth on tax cuts. a m.
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mitt romney on the issue of tax breaks for the rich. >> challenge romney debate claim that he doesn't support a $5 trillion tax cut. listen. >> why won't romney level with us about his tax plan, which gives the wealth a huge new tax break? because according to experts, he'd have to raise taxes on the middle class or increase the deficit to pay for it. if we can't trust him here, how can we ever trust him here? >> let's bring in the romney campaign senior adviser eric fehrnstrom. thank you for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> let's go through some of the issues that have come up on this day. the issue of the $5 trillion tax cut. explain how romney would pay for this if he got it approved. >> well, this is one of the big difference between the two candidates, wolf. governor romney won't raise
taxes and barack obama will. our fear is that that will plunge this weak economy into another recession. you heard the governor explain last night during the debate that he wants to lower rates for everyone. those rate reductions will be off set so that we don't add to the deficit and we don't have to increase taxes for the middle class. in fact, for the middle class, what the governor is proposing is a tax break because he would allow them to save and invest tax free. this is one of the big differences between these two candidates. mitt romney has a pro growth tax reform plan and create jobs and get the economy moving. you heard the president has no plans whatsoever. >> but the democrats keep pointing out you're being very vague and you're not being very specific in the so-called offsets. how do you pay for $5 trillion in tax cuts without raising the deficit? >> well, you know what, wolf, i'm reminded of what happened in 1986, the last time the congress and the president reagan at the time undertook major tax reform.
the president didn't come forward with a plan, take it or leave it plan that he presented to the congress. instead, he articulated some broad principles that would guide him in his negotiations with congressional leaders and those led to major tax reform. that created a major economic expansion in this country. those are the same principles that governor romney would follow, if he's elected as president. >> so, he's not going to spell out all the deductions or eliminations of loopholes or tax credits and he'll wait for the noexations to begin, if he becomes president. is that what you're saying? >> those will all be worked out in consultation with congress. what is important is the governor's own statement that his plan will not increase the deficit and it will not increase taxes for the middle class. in fact, he wants to lower taxes for the middle class by allowing them to save and invest tax rate. >> many people are looking forward to eventually finding out more detail on that. eric, you know president obama
was back out on the campaign trail today. really hammering governor romney. he says it was a different man on the debate stage debating him last night. listen to this. >> the man on stage last night. he does not want to be held accountable for the real mitt romney's decisions and what he's been saying for the last year. >> he's basically calling him a liar. i mean, even a spokesman for the campaign says that they're highlighting that mitt romney is hiding his plans, not that he's changing his positions. how do you respond to that? >> well, i think the president in his campaign team is in full damage control mode. i've heard the campaign and their supporters blame the president's poor performance on everything from the moderator to the altitude in denver. look, i think peephoople had a chance last night to see not only the real mitt romney, but the real barack obama. mitt romney came to that debate
and he talked about his specific proposals to lower tax rates so that we can create more jobs. he talked about transforming medicaid into a block grant program and giving it to the states and letting them run it more efficiently and talked about making our entitlement programs more affordable and how he would do that and preserve it for future workers and he talked about specific cuts that he would undertake to reduce the deficit. the president gave us nothing but empty platitudes and more revealing, he had no vision for where he wanted to take the country. i think the bottom line is that the president's policies are not working and neither are millions of americans and that's why it's time for a change. >> one of the sensitive issues that came up were health care reform. you heard mitt romney repeatedly say that he wants to eliminate obama care or a new proposal let the states deal with it the way he dealt with it in massachusetts. let me play this little clip for you because it's generating some commotion out there. >> pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.
>> all right, i could explain, eric, how are they covered under his plan if he wants the states to decide how to deal with health care and how to deal with pre-existing health care. massachusetts wants it, but utah doesn't. >> well, the governor is a federalist when it comes to health care, wolf. the plan we put in place here in massachusetts works for the people of massachusetts. by the way, we got that done without raising taxes and without cutting care to seniors. that's something that the president had to do in order to finance obama care. so, the governor will repeal obama care and he will return to the states the power to control their own health care futures. look, what works in massachusetts may not work in texas. it was wrong for the president to take the broad outlines of the massachusetts plan and impose it as they dictate from washington on every state in the nation. we will leave it to the states to decide. the governor believes that those who have continuous coverage
should not be dropped, if they change plans and have a pre-existing condition. but states are well situated to manage these issues. we did it in massachusetts and they could do it in other states, as well. >> will he mandate each state to honor the pre-existing conditions or will he give the states flexibility to deal with that? >> we will give the state initiatives and money so that they can manage these decisions on their own. but, of course, we'd like them to see them continue that pre-existing band for those who have continuous coverage. >> eric, if you take a look back. john kerry after the first debate back in '04, he had a four-point bounce following that first presidential debate. by the end of the third debate, he was back where he started. what is the plan? how are you going to keep any momentum that you're gaining off of the debate performance last night? >> well, our supporters are incredibly energized and i think
this is going to mean an uptick in our voter-to-voter contacts around the country. i think you'll see more people going door-to-door mobilizing support for governor romney. i think you'll see more people writing checks. we feel terrific about the way that the first debate went, but we're also mindful of the fact that there were two more debates to go and a lot more can happen between now and november 6th. but we're confident that the question voters are going to be asking themselves when they go into the voting booths on november 6th is, do you want another four years like the last four years? and on that basis, we think mitt romney will win this election? >> eric fehrnstrom, thank you for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> thank kate, too. >> thanks, eric. >> he can't hear us. >> thank you, kate. >> just want to make sure he's polite. >> thanks very much. a new danger for americans right now is the secret mission
all right, this just coming in. cnn has learned u.s. special operation forces are in libya and in nearby countries that are helping collect intelligence about who took part in that september 11th attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi that resulted in the killing of the american ambassador and three other americans. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is standing by. what are you learning, barbara? >> wolf, think of this as very small, very elite, very secret. small numbers of u.s. operation forces working with intelligence operatives and other members of
the federal government working in libya and working in nearby countries going in and out of libya, perhaps, to gather the intelligence they need about what happened there. looking at intercepts, imagery, we talked a couple days ago about assembling target folders and enough intelligence to begin to develop a target list if, if president obama were to ask for it. the military doesn't hang around waiting for the president to ask, they get busy. that is what they are doing now. very small, very discreet. >> we also learned today, barbara, today that the fbi finally after all these weeks actually got into benghazi for the first time since the attack. what do we know about what happened once they got there? >> we don't know what they found, what they were looking for, in particular, other than potential evidence perhaps left at the scene. here's what is interesting, wolf. they were accompanied by a u.s. military security team. the security situation in that
area is still so dire. they had to go with armed u.s. military troops. again, discreetly, quietly, but they needed military force behind them to assure their security when they went there. and we also now know, wolf, that the pentagon is conducting its own security review. what did it know about the threat in the region before the attack? what security measures? was it possibly asked for assistance from the state department to help improve security at the u.s. embassy in tripoli, at the consulate in benghazi. what did the pentagon know about the threat. what did it do to try to help and that is an internal review being conducted here at the department of defense. wolf? >> barbara, thanks for standing on top of the story. we'll stay on top of it, as well. throughout the day we have been watching the obama's campaign through the response last night in the debate cnn's erin burnett was speaking with top campaign officials that top of the hour, as well.
erin, give oslittle sense of what's going on. >> interesting, wolf, you used the word evolving. stephanie cutter, the deputy campaign manager for the president to find out her take on his performance and what the campaign is going to do about it. i was with a focus group last night and even at the end when some decided they were going to vote for the president and some were going to vote for governor romney, it was unbelievable the dial test on trustworthness, likability, strength, character for mitt romney all surged. they did not plunge for the president, but surged for mitt romney. we'll talk to her about that. you know, wolf, everyone was talking about the money surge. some top republican surrogates have been trying to tweet out about how much money they were raising and how it started last night during the actual debate and we'll be joined by the top two super pacs one for governor romney and the money flow that happened today. that's all coming up at the top of the hour. >> looking forward to it, as we always are. thank you.
this afternoon, president obama told a crowd that mitt romney wants to take it easy on wall street but take it easy on sesame street. good line. his statement got a lot of peop people's attention, including our own jeanne moos. >> gone from being a happy-go-lucky bird. ♪ i'm happy to be me >> reporter: to the unemployment
line all because of a couple of mitt romney lines. >> i'm going to stop the subsidy to pbs. i'm going to stop other things. i love big bird. i'm not going to borrow from china to pay for it. >>. >> reporter: you tell that so-and-so romney, anybody who bleeps with big bird bleeps with me. big bird even extended his finger. >> the one we all know and love? >> reporter: showed up in a dough bait split screen. his reaction was a scream. >> i'm not going to keep on spending money on things to keep borrowing money from china to pay for it. >> reporter: including a message spelled out for mitt. >> f-f-u-m-i-t-t.
>> i like watching big bird. i like watching big bird and bert and ernie for my grandkids to watch. >> gave president obama flack for not sticking up for big bird. >> he got rid of your jobs, now he wants to get rid of big bi bird's job. >> the president joined in. >> thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on big bird. we didn't know that big bird was driving the federal deficit. >> reporter: to be clear, cutting pbs funding might not directly endanger big bird since sesame street gets most of its money from corporate funding and donations. still, mitt romney was depicted making big bird thanksgiving dinner. if romney wins, i die. governor romney offered some hope. >> i'm not going to kill big
bird, i promise. there will be advertisements on pbs to help pay for big bird. big bird is going to have to get used to kellogg cornflakes. >> i'm going to stop the subsidy to pbs. >> oh, that's too bad. >> reporter: if big bird joined the debate. >> i like pbs. >> oh! >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn. >> i like big bird. >> really? >> of aaall the things he's going to take flack for, big bird. >> i love big bird. >> you do? >> of course i do. >> apparently i'm dressing like big bird. channeling big bird apparently. much more news ahead, including the latest on tensions between syria and turkey. we'll be watching that. stay with us. get outta the car. ♪ are you ok? the... get in the car. [ male announcer ] the epa estimated 42 mpg highway chevy cruze eco. for wherever life takes you. and now qualified buyers can get 0% apr financing for 48 months
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turkish artillery fire raining down on seyria. kate baldwin still with us. >> second day in a row turkey is shelling syrian military positions. now the turkish parliament has cleared the way for possible troop deployments. cnn's ivan watson reports from istanbul. >> reporter: chanting anti-war demonstration in downtown istanbul. thousands of people gathering. opposition parties, leftist parties chanting no to war. and also criticizing the government and turkish prime minister. what's striking is they've managed to gather this less than 36 hours after syrian artillery killed five turkish civilians in the turkish town of akcakale. as those people were buried at an emotional funeral. turkish artillery has been shelling across the border since
wednesday afternoon and evening and in the early pre-dawn hours on thursday as well. meanwhile, the turkish parliament has gathered for an emergency session and they voted in favor of a new resolution that would authorize turkish government to conduct cross-border military operations in to syria. >> ivan watson in the middle of all that. thank you, ivan. questioning two men in a shooting that killed a u.s. border patrol agent the tuesday. nicholas ivie died and another agent was injured when they came under fire after respond ing ina border sensor. he is the 14th border patrol agent killed in the line of duty since 2008. a flawless launch at cape canaveral, delta 4 rocket carrying a new positioning satellite into orbit, part of a new gps network, offering greater accuracy and stronger signals than the current
generation. and here in washington, scary moments outside the commerce department today. this worker was left dangling from his safety line, you see that there, after the scaffolding from which he was working failed. shocked tourists looked on as fire crews eventually reached the man and lowered him, thankfully, to safety. and everyone is okay. but those were some tense moments. >> here in washington, d.c., stuff like that happens in the nation's capital. >> i know. who knew things were not working in washington? >> yeah. we were hoping that mitt romney would be speaking this hour but he hasn't started speaking yet. >> hasn't started speaking yet. >> we'll be taking his speech live. >> and maybe starting right now they'll be getting a performance from trace adkins. >> let me listen to that music for a second. ♪ i'll be kind of busy but, hey, man, i'll try ♪ ♪ later on we finished our song about stars and cars and broken hearts ♪ >> trace